How-to: Connect 2 pairs of AirPods to a single iPhone

I remember watching the movie, Begin Again, and watching Mark Ruffalo and Keira Knightley strolling through the City at night, listening to a Frank Sinatra classic together with a headphone splitter on a single phone. And I thought: what a great way to share music.

Of course, things have changed a great deal over the last few years or so, when it comes to tech. Headphone jacks are slowly becoming a thing of the past on many flagship smartphones, and in fact, most people prefer to use wireless headphones to begin with.

An understated new feature from iOS 13 brings this sense of nostalgia back, however. If you (and a friend) are using a supported iOS 13.1 or iPadOS device, as well as a supported pair of headphones, here’s how to set up audio sharing on your device.

Supported devices

Supported headphones (in addition to AirPods, AirPods Pro):

  • Powerbeats Pro
  • Beats Solo Wireless
  • Beats
  • Beats Studio Wireless
  • Powerbeats Wireless

Supported Apple devices:

  • iPhone 8 and later
  • iPad Pro (12.9-inch) (2nd generation and later)
  • iPad Pro (11-inch)
  • iPad Pro (10.5-inch)
  • iPad (5th generation and later)
  • iPad Air (3rd generation)
  • iPad mini (5th generation)
  • iPod touch (7th generation)

How to set up audio sharing

First, connect your headphones to your iPhone/iPad/iPod. Ensure that your friend’s pair of headphones are kept in the case. Move your iPhone to towards your friend’s open charging case. On your iPhone, tap “Temporarily Share Audio”, and follow the on-screen instructions. If you’re using a pair of Beats headphones, you’ll need to press the power button on the headphones briefly, before moving your iPhone closer.

You can also connect your iPhone to another supported iOS device. Click on the icon with a triangle and three circles in the Now Playing controls near the top right of your iPhone’s screen, and click Share Audio. Then, bring your iPhone closer to your friend’s iPhone/iPad, and ask your friend to tap “Join” on their device.

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Do note that you’ll need to have AirPods (or supported headphones) for this to work, even if you’re connecting to another iOS device as opposed directly pairing with a friend’s AirPods.